Quantcast

A Covid 'Atlantic Bubble' Road Trip (& some Trains too!)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
Any other summer......by now I would probably have already posted a couple of Trip Reports here for the Ocean, VIA's Corridor and maybe even an Amtrak Acela trip......but right now I can't even go to Ontario or Quebec except for essential travel and that would involve at least one 14 day isolation if not two!

With Covid numbers so low here....the four Atlantic Provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland have formed the 'Atlantic Bubble' that allows residents to travel within these provinces without requiring a 14 day isolation when crossing a provincial border. So with that in mind it was time for a Road Trip!!.....and I was off to Newfoundland last week.

(and as @MARC Rider noted in his Road Trip to Maine Report ”Yes, there's some reference to rail here. Just be patient, please”).......and thanks for the inspiration to get out and do a Road Trip so the summer is not a total loss!

I left home late Sunday afternoon for the 2 hour drive to the Marine Atlantic Ferry in North Sydney NS and an overnight crossing to Port-aux-Basques (Port oh Bask) Newfoundland.

Here's my ride....the MV Highlanders docked along-side the Atlantic Vision.....and the crossing was a bit different in these Covid times: Capacity is reduced to half and you have to stay in your assigned space (I had a cabin) and no wandering around the decks. Restaurants and bars are closed so we were given a complementary snack upon boarding consisting of a nice sandwich wrap, fruit, muffin and bottled water. Under normal circumstances I would have been out on deck on this warm, clear evening with every star out but at least my cabin had a window..... and at sunrise the rocky coast of Newfoundland came into view.
























Once off the Ferry.......instead of just heading on up the highway we first had to clear 'Newfoundland Customs'......actually it was the Department of Health checking ID's to make sure you are a resident of the Atlantic Provinces and didn't have to be sent into a 14 day isolation.






I was heading for Gros Morne National Park.....about a 4 hour drive north of the ferry along the west coast of the island. The Trans Canada Highway is wide and straight and once the cars and trucks from the ferry clear.....there's little traffic and a real pleasure to drive!






 
Last edited:

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
Through the Humber River Gorge near Corner Brook the 4-lane Trans Canada is built on a portion of the old railway right-of-way.









Along the way I was searching out the remnants of CN's narrow-gauge Newfoundland Railway that's now been abandoned for 30 years. There's some equipment 'stuffed and mounted' at several locations including a very nice display at Corner Brook of CN's Caribou....a.k.a 'The Newfie Bullet' with cars you can walk through. (I'll do a separate posting of these car interior photos following this Trip Report) I also did a bit of hiking along the old railbed and across several of the bridges and trestles. It's now the T'Railway Provincial Park.....a multi-use hiking, biking and ATV trail)










][









 
Last edited:

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
Gros Morne is a scenic gem. It's a UNESCO heritage site with one of only a few places on the planet where you can see the earth's Mantle Rock that came to the surface eons ago. This is in the 'Tablelands' where I hiked the 4km trail. Notice the contrast here with the typical granite rock and boreal forest on the right and the almost lunar-like landscape of the Mantle on the left with it's brown/copper colour. The highway down the valley goes out to Trout River on the coast.






































][/url[/U]]





 
Last edited:

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
I did 'cheat' the last night and got a room at the Holiday Inn in Deer Lake as it was going to be a long daytime crossing going home the next day on the ferry. I felt safe with the Covid measures in place and the usual complementary hot breakfast was still served but no longer buffet style! Then it was on down the highway back to the ferry at Port-aux-Basques. It was a 6 1/2 hr crossing and I took a day cabin instead of having to stay put in a coach seat the entire time. I was home at 8pm.......and I'm ready to head out again next week with a couple of other National Parks to explore in New Brunswick.
































 
Last edited:

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
And as noted in my Trip Report above.......here's my Tour of CN's Caribou....a.k.a 'The Newfie Bullet' Narrow Gauge Equipment at the Railway Society of Newfoundland in Corner Brook.

This was North America's last full-service narrow-gauge passenger train with Coaches, Sleepers, Diner and a Lounge car now on display on a short section of remaining narrow-gauge track at Mile 404.

But there's been a bit of a play on paint schemes here! Old #593 would never have hauled equipment painted in CN's 1960's era black-white scheme.....and the cars would have had the red 'CN' logo.....not that green-gold 'NFLD Railway' tilted logo that disappeared after 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada and CN assumed control of the railway.































 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556














In the diesel era...the Caribou would have been led by GMD NF110/210s like #931 here:















And here's a typical 'Caribou' consist from the late 1960s


GMD NF210
GMD NF210
Steam Generator Unit
Storage Mail (wood boxcar)
Baggage/Express
Diner (as lounge)
Coach
Coach
Coach
Diner
Sleeper (as Dorm)
Sleeper
Sleeper
Sleeper
Sleeper
Sleeper (Corner Brook set-out/pick-up)
Sleeper (Corner Brook set-out/pick-up)

In the fall of 1968 CN had introduced a new fleet of new Roadcruiser buses and passengers soon abandoned the train for the frequent and faster bus service that now covered the 900 km run in 14 hours vs the 22 hours the train took.

The 'Caribou' was discontinued and and completed it's last run between Port-aux-Basques and St. John's overnight on July2-3, 1969.

Here's the CN Timetable from 1969 showing the last 'Caribou'.....Trains #101-102 along with the new 'Roadcruiser' bus service (#500 series):





 
Last edited:

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,552
Location
Toronto area
Nice report. The Bullet equipment is in remarkably good shape considering its age. Obviously someone/group is really into preservation.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,153
Location
South Florida
Great report, thanks for posting. I haven't been there since my auto trip from New York, back in the summer of 1990. Rode the Marine Atlantic then new, "Joseph and Clara Smallwood", both ways. Spent one night in St. Anthony, and one night in St. John's. Next time I drive up there, I will drive up thru Labrador, which wasn't possible back then...:cool:
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,076
Interesting report and photos; thanks for posting them.

What was the fuel used for the coach car heater and for the stove in the dining car's kitchen?
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,556
The outdoor pictures are so beautiful they make my heart ache, and sing at the same time.
It certainly has been an outdoor summer with lots of hiking and visits to parks close to home. Places I've passed over for years on the way to other provinces and states.

Makes you appreciate what is close by when you can't just hop on that train or plane!
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
Oil I believe......and that looks like a filter and oil line at the lower/left of the kitchen stove. The stoves in the coaches and sleepers were for auxiliary heat. The mainline Caribou had heating supplied from a Steam Generator Car.

At the young and tender age of 13 I spent hours in the basement assembling and building a HO gauge empire, with a freight yard of baggage cars such as the one in this pic... and I would dream of all the places along the tracks these cars had been. In those days there were so many tracks to practically everywhere!

There were shelves and shelves of balsa wood, glue, pre-assembled wheels and couplers. Model railroading was then and still is an expression of dreams and fantasies of railroading. But! This car above looks just like one I built so long ago. Could it be that it actually came to life?????


maxresdefault.jpg
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
555
What fantastic photos! I felt overcome with a desire to head out to the Maritimes as soon as borders open and time permits! Thanks so much for sharing them with us.
 

Ranke

Train Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
23
Location
Bangor, Maine
Thanks for the fine trip report. Just as I thought we had overcome our disappointment at having to postpone this summer's trip to Newfoundland, your beautiful photos reminded us of what we were missing. The overnight ferry at North Sydney is an easy day's drive from central Maine, and next time we'll be sure to include the Corner Brook RR Museum.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,076
I have been able to visit Maritime Canada a few times and am always glad to return again for another visit.

(And, oh, those P.E.I. Mussels! Along with a Labatt's!)
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,298
Location
Austin Texas
I have been able to visit Maritime Canada a few times and am always glad to return again for another visit.

(And, oh, those P.E.I. Mussels! Along with a Labatt's!)
Our Wonderful Neighbor to the North has given me so many Beautiful Memories!🥰

I miss being there in the Summer and Fall, but not the Winter!😉😊
 
Top